Has What’s Going On In The World Created A Movement In Meanness?
There's absolutely no doubt that what's happening in the world has people worn so thin that tensions are beyond high. Uncertainty and fear feed the fire of man-kind's less-than-desirable traits, so it's understandable that in the current climate, it doesn't take much for otherwise level-headed, rational individuals to snap....and then snap at anyone or everyone around them.
Now, let me make one thing clear here, right out of the gate. I get it; politics, racism, Covid-19, masks, the "right way to handle things"....everyone has their own opinion of these issues. And I am not here to debate any of those things, as I respect each person's individual right to think for themselves, even if and when I disagree with them.
The issue, as I step back and watch how we are handling ourselves through these times and trials, is how so many folks are choosing to handle themselves in a mean way. The old adage "hurt people hurt people" is on full display these days, for all the world to see. There seems to be no shortage of news stories, national and local, that highlight just how awful human beings can be towards one another, when pushed to that limit of being scared, stressed out, frustrated and unheard.
I like to think of myself as a pretty optimistic person. I'm not naive to what's going on in the world, and I have my concerns to be sure. But I am a person who looks for the hope in a situation, no matter how hopeless it seems. What I am seeing as a growing trend of behavior has me worried for my kids, and all kids, as they adults they are looking up to, the ones whom they model their behavior after, are acting out these days.
This week alone, locally, there were two separate stories told to me by friends and family, that involved adults, with differing opinions, spitting at and threatening violence towards one another...while children looked on. One took place as two families were waiting in line to go in to eat at a local restaurant. The other took place in the parking lot of a local grocery store, as these two different parents were loading their children in to their vehicles. Threats and spitting...in front of kids. What does this teach them exactly?
What lessons do little ones get out of watching things like this; it's okay to be mean to those who disagree with you. It's okay to belittle, spit on and threaten those who don't share your opinion.
I understand that things are uncertain, horrible, heartbreaking at times. I understand that people are stressed out and impassioned about certain causes and parties and situations in the world. And I am not, for once second, trying to say that all those feeling aren't justified. But we need to take a moment, take a breath, and realize we're being watched by a generation of people who will take their cues from how we decide to handle ourselves in the wake of challenge and adversity. We need to learn, as a society, to disagree but still show respect.
Because if we don't, what kind of world are we helping to create...for our kids?